Learning how to play the piano can be a wonderful way to spend one’s free time. Whether you’re getting lessons for yourself, your teen, or your child – learning to play the piano can be incredibly beneficial. In fact, studies show that learning how to play instrument can help increase cognitive ability, improves patience, sharpens memory, and helps relieve stress.
The question is – should you get online lessons or have a teacher assist you on-site? The choice really depends on your personal situation. Here are some pros and cons you should keep in mind when choosing between these two piano-learning methods.
Related: Are piano lessons worth it? Please follow my write-up to find out more.
In-person piano lessons are generally more expensive than online lessons. The price isn’t small either because in-person lessons can cost anywhere from several hundreds to thousands of dollars – depending on the quality of the teacher. On the other hand, online piano lessons are pretty cheap – costing around 25 to 60 dollars per session.
Understand that the cost of the lessons is a good indicator of quality. While it’s perfectly possible to find a good teacher at a reduced cost – most online teachers are not certified to teach piano. It’s not a much regulated field – hence the lowered cost.
One advantage of online piano lessons is that you’re not limited to local piano teachers. You have a plethora of options – even piano teachers from a different State or even a different country! This actually helps you balance between cost and quality. You can get a good online teacher at a reasonable cost if you widen the search and get someone from a different location.
In contrast, an on-site piano teacher limits your possible choices. Obviously, you’ll have to pick local and pay the typical local rates for the service. This doesn’t give you much wiggle room when it comes to quality and pricing of the lessons.
In-person piano lessons create the difficulty of scheduling around other commitments you might have. There’s a need to consolidate 7777er. Either you have to adjust to their schedule or they have to adjust with yours. Some piano teachers typically teach in groups which means that the schedule is pretty fixed for the lessons.
This problem can also happen if you’re learning through online methods. However, it’s not as prominent because some piano lessons actually record lectures and just let you stream them on your computer. The problem only pops up when you’re learning live – which means that the student and the teacher are both on Zoom and conducting the lessons in real-time. In many cases however, online lessons are a combination of live and streaming services so you can be flexible with how it fits in your life.
As mentioned, most online piano teachers will give you access to videos and streams that tackle one piano lesson at a time. The beauty of this method is that you can replay the lesson as needed, allowing you to practice beyond class hours. In some cases, you can even download the videos so you can watch offline. This lets you study parts of the lesson that you find hard without being confined to a specific time or day.
This option is completely absent from in-person piano lessons. You’ll have to absorb all the information given by your teacher within that allotted span of time.
Some people learn fast while others take some time to learn particular disciplines. For example, you may find finger positioning easy but have a hard time reading and understanding notes. In-person teachers typically have a set pacing for their students that they’re committed to following through the lessons. Hence, if their syllabus says you’ll need two sessions to learn a particular skill, then that’s what they’ll do.
Online lessons aren’t as strict. If you can learn a discipline quickly and if you’re happy with the results – you can run through the lesson and move forward to another one. With this, the pacing can actually be faster and allows you to cover more material. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean quality – but it does allow you to control your own pacing.
One prominent downside of online piano lessons would be the heavy dependence on the internet. What if the power goes down or the internet starts to lag? Most piano lessons utilize video and streaming sessions which means that it can eat up heavy bandwidth. If the quality of your internet connection is poor, you might become frustrated with every lesson because of the buffering. This can get worse if you’re learning real-time and the piano teacher is charging by the hour. Worse – what if the piano teacher also has a bad connection?
Obviously, this is not a problem you’ll get with in-person lessons. Barring any emergencies, you’ll find that an in-person teacher will always show up for lessons or at least give you an update in case they won’t be able to make it.
An online piano teacher almost always means that you will be using your own piano to study the material. This translates to having a piano already before proceeding with the lessons. This could be a big investment on your part, especially if you’re just learning as a hobby.
An in-person lesson could mean getting access to the teacher’s piano – unless you prefer to use your own, of course. Getting to use the teacher’s piano could mean getting access to a better piece of instrument. At the same time, you would be able to get advice and direction on what kind of piano to buy – especially if you’re a complete beginner.
Mistakes when learning the piano is quite comm0n. Unfortunately, not all students can spot their own mistakes – which is why having a teacher watch you can help with improvement. With in-person lessons, the teacher can watch and correct problems in real time. They can offer immediate guidance and actually show you how they want you to play. This kind of face-to-face method of teaching is invaluable for most students who prefer an on-hands approach to their learning.
Online lessons aren’t as impressive because your teacher may have a hard time spotting technique mistakes with face-to-face supervision. Sure, they can watch via live video – but this is not comparable to in-person correction. You can also try recording your practice for better video quality – but this removes the possibility of immediate correction on the part of the teacher.
Online lessons are generally conducted one on one. You have yourself and the teacher through the computer. The plus side of this is you actually get the teacher’s full attention during your lessons. You can get personalized coaching and feedback from the teacher – giving you the chance to really improve on your individual flaws when it comes to playing. Somehow, this helps balance the fact that you’re not getting the personal touch with a face to face teacher.
In person piano lessons on the other hand can be practiced as part of a group. Maybe you can join an existing class and thus pay a cheaper rate because you’re learning alongside others. The downside is that you won’t be able to get the teacher’s full attention. This means that the lessons will be paced according to the general skills of the group instead of your individual skills.
In general, the quality of learning and guidance is seen as “better” if you’re learning in person with a teacher whose attention is solely focused on you. Note that this isn’t the case all the time however – the quality still depends on the teacher itself and how they approach teaching. No matter what you choose, keep in mind that piano is more of a talent and a skill – having a good teacher is great, but motivating yourself to practice every day would be the best way for you to improve!
At the end of the day, it’s completely possible for you to get quality piano lessons in both lessons. Don’t forget that the motivation and willingness of the student also comes into play when measuring overall improvement. Of course, it’s also perfectly possible for you to start in one method and then shift to another as the needs of the student changes. In any case, you’ll find that learning how to play a piano can be very beneficial to a person’s overall quality of life!